Green boxes litter the properties of small businesses in Peoria. Many small business owners have been approached by volunteers of the Gaia Movement asking to place their clothes and shoes collection boxes on the owner's property. According to the Better Business Bureau, the Gaia Movement does not qualify as a non-profit organization, as they claim to the small business owners, because they do not spend enough of their income on “program activities” (charity).
“Standard 8: Program Service Expense Ratio - Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.
GAIA does not meet this Standard because according to the organization's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007, the organization spent $12,200 or 1% of its total expenses ($1,140,881) on program service activities.” (http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/environment/gaia-movement-living-earth-green-world-action-usa-in-chicago-il-15815)
The above standard is just one of the seven that they failed to meet in order to be called a non-profit as they claim.
The clothes and shoes dropped into the boxes are not given away, like most givers would expect. They are sold.
“Beware of Inflated Charity Efficiency Claims! A charity may even count its primary solicitation activity as a charitable program. For instance, Planet Aid [ed: related to Gaia by parent Organization, Tvind], a nonprofit group famous for its yellow outdoor collection boxes, calls the cost of collecting worn clothes, which it later sells, a program service expense. Its tax form states that its purpose is "To support development projects ... and protection of natural habitat through the recycling of used clothing." It would be like Wal-Mart claiming that its main purpose is to help low-income people have a higher standard of living by selling them less expensive merchandise. Planet Aid raises almost all of its funds by selling the donated items, rather than giving them to needy people. It only distributed $8,000 of donated goods of the $8.7 million it spent in 2004, according to its most recently available tax form. Planet Aid's 2004 audit reports two program service expenses: $6.6 million of "Clothing collection" and $2 million of "International Aid." AIP believes the cost to collect used goods for later sale is a fundraising expense and considers any possible benefit to the environment to be incidental. Planet Aid reports a 94% program ratio, whereas AIP believes the ratio earns the group an F grade at 23%.” (http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/inflated.html)
Goodwill and Salvation Army are different because the money they make stays to help the local economy.
Gaia Movement is moving across the country. When it gets kicked out of one city, it just moves to the next, like a transient scam artist of old. Gaia was started on the east coast in Massachusetts and has been expanding westward ever since. The organization was recently banned from Indianapolis.
“For his part, Cooper is dubious about the impact of one city's efforts on the overall operation. "I think if you squash them in your town, they'll turn up in the next town over," he says.” (http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/gaia-gets-the-boot-from-indy/Content?oid=1271584)
Gaia Movement is descended from Tvind.
“According to many critics, Gaia Movement is firmly associated with a self-styled humanitarian organization in Denmark called Teachers Group (TG) or Tvind that is actually a political cult running a transnational financial crime syndicate.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_Movement#Criticism)
I worked inside the Teachers Group in 2009 and, as a Peoria resident, am remiss to see them lying and stealing from our local philanthropists, small business owners, and charities like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and charitable clothes collection faith-based church groups. Please help me stop them from coming here and talk to a small-business owner where you see one of these green collection boxes.
And finally, a link to a website doing all it can to inform and fight the scum that is Tvind.
“Your clothes are now the property of The Teachers Group. This is not a normal charity. It is not recognized as one anywhere in the world. One of its most senior leaders has just been sent to prison for fraud (January 2009).” (http://www.tvindalert.com/the-used-clothes-scam)